A couple of weeks back I bumped into someone I had worked with over 15 years ago. That’s a long time back. Initially I didn’t recognize her. But eventually her eyes seemed like one that I’d seen before and I said to her, “I know you!” “Are you Sarah?” We then chatted and the interesting thing is what I learnt from thereon.

15 years is a long time. I know I’m repeating myself. But it is. I believe that in that length of time, there is so much a person can achieve not only in terms of wealth but also in terms of accomplishing goals that were on their mind. This successful woman, I say successful because in the career world, she is very accomplished but it made me wonder if she did anything more than that. When I knew her back then, she looked the way she did when I saw her – from hairstyle, fashion sense, career path, lifestyle etc. Some would argue that isn’t that great that she knows herself. She knows she likes her job, she knows what clothes suit her, which hairstyle is her thing etc.

However I seem to think differently. I think because we grow our choices and decisions change. So for instance, I knew her when I was in banking and I would never go back. I had a different fashion sense, hair style, confidence level, education background and the list goes on. There is so much difference in the me today from the yesteryears. Perhaps life gave me opportunities that expanded me but I do think that we all have these opportunities and some prefer to stay in the comfort zone because it is safe. It’s safe to be in the same field even though it may take most of your hours but you earn millions of dollars. It’s safe to do something you’ve always been doing even if it limits you in other ways. For many people, they choose to stay at what they do or where they are whether it is a relationship, career or a lifestyle because it is safe.

I want to talk about why being safe which really means being comfortable isn’t quite living. The reason I think it isn’t living is because that is something you did yesterday, the day before and 10 years ago. What is the Karina today learning or experiencing that enriches her? Obviously with work, it doesn’t change to an extend but it also can if you see it differently or look for challenges or things that make you come alive. Because I teach, I find stories or articles that inspire me and I share them with my kids. Like this morning, I told my students about this commuter I see every day. This commuter has an amazing energy and a genuine smile that reminds of Buddha. As I was sharing this, the kids looked at me intrigued and smiled and some laughed thinking I was nuts! This is unconventional, to share stories that are not in the scheme of work but it reminds me about life and what it really is means hence with my students I do it anyway. But you get the point. We can always go outside the box. In our personal lives, there are things we want to do but we hold back whether it is quitting the job we are in and taking the time off to study or to write a book we’ve been wanting to do or to set up a new business. Whatever it is we aren’t doing is because where we are comfortable and scared.  However, we should find things that we are not comfortable or not sure we can do, to make it a point to do them.

Why? Simple. If we are uncomfortable with something then there is fear. If there is fear then we are not free. We are controlled by emotions. We are afraid of death because death is what kicks in fear. One of the things I want to work on more is to be excited about death. I know it sounds nuts but hear me out. Life is the other side of the coin of death so we know that with birth as in life comes death. It is expected. We act like it will never come and when it does, we are devastated. But why? Death is expected, it’s a contract it will take place. It’s also the process of renewal, new birth. Because there is fear of death, we live a comfortable safe life. We rather not take chances because we do not want to suffer. Whereas suffering is when strength comes from. Hardships is what makes a person who they are.

Since I’m on the journey of wanting to push myself. I’ve set some goals that I am afraid of but I also know it will be an amazing experience when I accomplish it. It isn’t just when I accomplish it but even when I’m in the process of it. I come alive when I live out my fears, when I live from my heart. My true nature.

I hope that this gives you a chance to reflect on what you wish you could do but stop wishing anymore. Set a plan and work towards it. Because living a comfortable life is boring and not living.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.” — Kahlil Gibran

Disclaimer: the person’s name has been changed to protect the person’s privacy